Can Mary Portas get tills ringing in Honiton?

PUBLISHED: 13:56 16 June 2011

Richard Neve, 79, of Honiton.

Richard Neve, 79, of Honiton.

Archant

Shoppers say they would welcome retail guru’s input to improve Honiton’s town centre.

SHOPPERS in Honiton say they would welcome a visit by retail guru Mary Portas and believe the High Street could benefit from her advice.

Last month Honiton Town Council agreed to invite the star of television show Mary Queen of Shops to take a look at what the town has to offer.

The multi-agency Honiton Marketing Group, which is made up of representatives from various organisations, including the town council, is preparing a case for Honiton.

Ms Portas has been drafted in to lead a government review on the future of the UK’s High Street.

However, some shoppers feel the High Street is fine just the way it is.

Helen Hasham, 43, of Farway, said: “I think Honiton would benefit from a visit by Mary Portas.

“Otherwise, I think Honiton is going to end up with more charity shops and big chains.

“The town is struggling to compete with the big chains, as people buy from the supermarkets.

“Mary Portas could tell independent shops how to make more of a profit and how to keep going.

“Traditional ways of running shops, perhaps, may not be the best ways. We’ve got to move on and also keep the original High Street.”

David Jones, of Fenny Bridges, said: “The town probably would benefit from a little advice.

“Personally, I would not have the flags flying if Mary Portas came to Honiton, but I would be interested to see what the outcome was.

“It can only be viewed as a positive.

“Retailers would probably welcome her visit - to help bring more people into High Street, rather than shopping out of town.”

Richard Neve, 79, of Honiton, said: “Quite frankly, no – I would not welcome a visit by Mary Portas.

“I like the shopkeepers in Honiton; they are all very helpful and chatty.

“I don’t think her hard hitting commercial approach will help.

“It is best left as it is, although we could do with a Marks and Spencer.”

Suzanne McQueenie, 42, of Kerswell, said: “I think any market town would benefit from a visit by Mary Portas.

“She has got lots of really good advice for small independent shops up to high street stores like Selfridges.”

Helen Bottrill, 38, of Blackborough, said: “It is a great idea and it would mean retailers get free advice.

“Retailers have got to say yes, as shops are dying out in the High Street while others are still trying to hang on in there.

“I love Honiton, because it is still going strong, and I love all the antique shops.

“I do really like Honiton on the whole.”


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